Three kids do battle with a people-eating haunted house.
In every neighborhood lurks a house so spooky children tremble as they pass, said Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times. Monster House taps into that giddy universal fear, with a 'œnear-perfect roller coaster ride' of a film. The animated movie stars a house so terrifying its windows glow like evil eyes and its front hall rug rolls out like a tongue to capture passersby. Almost as scary is its sole inhabitant Mr. Nebbercracker, a mean old coot who spends his time chasing kids away from his crumbling home. Chief among his victims is his pubescent across-the-street neighbor DJ, who spies on the eerie domicile from his bedroom window, said Kevin Crust in the Los Angeles Times. When his parents leave town just before Halloween, he finally ventures into the maw of the beast, with his pudgy pal Chowder and their nerdy friend Jenny'œthe thinking adolescent's dream girl.' The house (voiced by Kathleen Turner) comes alarmingly to life, and a showdown ensues. It's an old-fashioned haunted-house tale, but so 'œfreshly executed' by director Gil Kenan and his top-notch voice cast that kids and adults alike will be in its thrall. It's 'œthe best child-friendly movie of the summer so far,' said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Its trim, smartly written 86 minutes deter fidgeting, and include none of the 'œValuable Lessons routinely pasted onto family movies.' Techno-nerds will appreciate its motion-capture animation, which uses the movements of real actors to create its images. The kids act like 'œreal kids, rather than like supercute, big-headed cartoon moppets.'